Telework and containment: how to find balance?

Updated on 17 November 2020

Telework is back on the table. For this second containment set up on October 30, it seems that the population is better at dealing with this period. Indeed, we see the appearance of measures on the side of the leaders. They aim to enable their employees to live better in this new way of working. On a bridge between work and personal life. For companies following a CSR approach, we can see in particular the provision of online sports courses.

For example, with OLY BE companies can offer their employees yoga classes. They can also take advantage of stress management workshops. Always to highlight the well-being we also notice changes in the design of spaces. Indeed, architects are now proposing to rethink the workspaces in our homes or apartments. The architect Cyril Rheims proposes his skills in order to accompany this professional upheaval.

Telework and containment

Telework in times of confinement makes it more difficult to balance work/life. While the home office allows companies to maintain economic activity, the lack of preparedness for this situation also creates its share of difficulties. Indeed, this way of working clearly changes the way you work on your missions, working with colleagues and clients. It breaks down the time dedicated to work and personal time, leading to a feeling of mental overload, social isolation, dispersion, lack of concentration.

With the Covid-19 containment precipitating the decision to telework, many employees find themselves in difficulty managing this new framework. A popular belief made home office the Holy Grail allowing flexibility and adjusted working time. With containment and telework imposed, many professionals are learning at their expense that we were quite far from reality. Especially when the kids are also at home.

Extended working time, inappropriate workspace, disjointed organization… solutions exist to bring order to his telework days. Especially since they may remain the norm for a few more weeks…

Longer working hours: in the home office, we work more!

Contrary to the apprehension and nervousness often experienced by executives and managers, it would seem that teleworking employees does not push them to work less. Conversely, according to a Deskeo survey conducted as part of the containment (1), 32% of respondents say they work longer than usual. Moreover, the time saved by the elimination of transport time and morning preparation is found for 59% of French respondents devoted to work rather than other activities. In fact, only 19% of respondents admit to spending less time for the company since they teleworked. This is attributed more to the decline in widespread activity in the world than to a lack of professional awareness.

Beyond an extended time slot for work, half of those surveyed no longer take lunch time. 37% still take a meal break from time to time and 14% work rather than eat. Thus, telework nibbles time on the usual moments of life and on personal time.

However, for some French people, the time saved by eliminating transport is alsoan opportunity to cook (54%), sleep a little more (52%), enjoy their children (38%) or take care of household chores (33%). It is therefore generally all available time that is extended. And to each to choose the distribution of tasks he gives to this new time …

Inadequate home work spaces and workstations

With the containment imposed to fight the Covid-19, three-quarters of workers admit to regretting their office. In addition to the fact that 89% of teleworkers have their first home office experience, more than 73% are not equipped at home with a dedicated work space.

They therefore do not have the office except for the rest of the house, the family, and the surrounding hustle and bustle, or even a table and chair suitable for a good work posture. For many telework is equivalent to working on a couch, a computer on your lap.

Distance eye screen, back and neck posture, tilt and screen size… The ergonomics of a workstation play a big part in the well-being and health of workers. Unfortunately, the telework imposed by the containment did not allow everyone to equip themselves for a minimum of comfort. Moreover, not all dwellings offer the possibility of organizing a workspace, for lack of space. Combined with the loss of physical activity and the low room-to-sofa distance, physiotherapists may have work when they resume…

Confinement, a difficult organization in telework

Not everyone can easily separate work and personal life. Similarly, not everyone can easily plan their workdays. Taken out of its usual context, work is for many a source of stress. Between fear of not managing everything, loneliness, reduced teamwork, juggling parental obligations, tension rises. Solutions exist to make her fall back and apprehend her days more serenely. In this period of containment, solidarity initiatives are numerous. Some are designed to help workers manage their daily lives better.

For example, My Mental Energy Pro, an expert in brain well-being and efficiency, makes available its digital solution of Mental Ecology during confinement. To reduce anxiety, gain concentration, improve the quality of sleep, it offers different tools. From video and audio content to no self-diagnosis and tailor-made advice, the application is offered free of charge for 3 months. (2)

Other professionals are also serving people in this complicated time. For example, Cogito’z Psychology Centres have set up a psychological hotline for all as part of Covid-19. Some professionals also offer live music for meditation and sophrology.

Telework and confinement: the place of social bonding between colleagues

While special moments between colleagues are part of a highlight at work, the home office puts an end to most collective rituals. Office tour at the beginning of the day, coffee break, chatter at lunch… most habits for social connection have ended. Yet with the computer tools at your disposal,it’s never been easier to keep in touch. Chats, video conferencing, cloud, everything is done to facilitate communication between teams. So why not use digital technology to maintain the rituals that make the social connection in the company?

During confinement, we are “all in the same boat”, but not everyone experiences it in the same way. For some people, work is the main place of socialization. Breaking with your habits is a source of loneliness, anguish and loss of reference.

To remedy this, 74% of teleworkers in the Deskeo survey say they do not mobilize to stay in touch with their colleagues. In contrast, 29% communicate by telephone. However, this does not prevent the vast majority from sharing any more “off” moment as usual. For example, only 2% use the tools available to take a meal break with colleagues, to have a drink after work, and even less (1%) to discuss the time for a coffee break.

These moments seem to be reassigned to the people with whom teleworkers share their confinement: spouses and children.

Children and telecommuting: the need for “cloning” during confinement

Among the most talked about sources of stress and disorganization are children. Thus, with containment, the traditional problems of telework are added to school education and the occupation of children. To enable parents to work from home, while ensuring school needs, solutions are available.

To support children in their schooling, Prof Express offers online school support and homework assistance. Supported by the Social and Economic Committee of Companies or Associations, it is offered free of charge to families. During the Coronavirus crisis, the usual schedules are extended. Thus, the accompaniment is offered from Monday to Sunday, except Friday. Mathematics, French and English are available from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and other subjects from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Also in the context of containment, the New Aquitaine Region provides a free platform to help with homework by telephone. Available for high school students and apprentices, master’s students accompany students in French, mathematics, English, Spanish… This service can be reached Monday to Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 05 57 57 50 00.

Doing sports at home to stay fit and free your mind

In this context of widespread confinement, sedentary lifestyles will reach record levels. While the population is already traditionally uns active, telework also puts an end to daily walking trips, walks…

However, according to the Deskio survey, 25% of respondents spend part of their time spent not travelling and preparing for physical activity in the morning.

Thus, during the confinement, various initiatives in favour of a sport activity at home are put in place. Like La Pause Baskets, promoter of corporate sport, which now offers live sports sessions,and offers video lessons to be carried out at home.

At the same time, many sports teachers offer free sports sessions during this period, via social networks. In Gironde, for example, the Facebook Group Wanted Bordeaux has seen a number of proposals for yoga, fitness or pilates classes at home in recent days.

Sessions to do alone or with family to keep fit and try to tire the children …

Coronavirus crisis, fear of losing one’s job

In this tense context, the Coronavirus crisis heralds one of the worst global economic crises in history. There are many concerns about the sustainability of businesses. According to Deskio, 79% of men and more than 83% of women are particularly worried about losing their jobs.

At the same time, companies like somanyWays are taking the situation head-on by suggesting that we take advantage of this crisis to take stock of his professional life, his aspirations to prepare for his post-coronavirus future. To do this, the start-up makes its Workoscope solutionavailable free of charge. A tool from 3 in research and development to prepare his professional development.


(1) Deskeo, “Employment survey: 76% of French people in telecommuting already regret their offices”, 26 March 2020

(2) Happytech, “Telework: Happy solutions to stay zen and focused!” March 23, 2020.

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